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This week’s front page editor


Francesc Badia i Dalmases is Editor and Director of democraciaAbierta.

Lost in translation: the narrowing of the American mind

The lack of foreign language translations in the United States reflects a damaging complacency in its literary and public culture, says KA Dilday.

Cold war II

“Old Europe” acts tough, Diamonds lose their sparkle, Gilgamesh rivals Garner.

The mother of all questions: how to reform global governance?

The period of crisis in international institutions and political order inaugurated on 11 September 2001 has left intact public trust in the United Nations itself. The organisation should seize the moment for a bold, imaginative reform of its institutional architecture – one that will help establish a global public contract able to address the problems of democracy, peace, sustainability and the network society that will define the new century.

A world on the move

Nomads, immigrants, migrants, refugees – People Flow, the concept pioneered in a new openDemocracy debate, offers imaginative ways for the movement of people to be understood.

Losing the peace

A triumphal tour of the Middle East by the US defence secretary is in marked contrast with the violence and insecurity that continues across Iraq. As the US’s bitter diplomatic fallout with France continues, and its forces prepare to relocate from Saudi Arabia, the shadows on the victory sun are enlarging.

Meanwhile, back in the world...

The media caravanserai has moved on: after the Iraq war, the Sars race. But what else is new? A cosmonaut of inner space wields machete, butterfly-net, and surreal grasp of geopolitics to pin down the untold stories of a spinning world.

One back, two chairs: Czechs oscillate over Iraq

The Iraq war found the Czech Republic torn between traditional loyalties to the US and UK and its ties to ‘old Europe’. As the country prepares for its referendum on membership of the EU, the Prague-based director of the Institute for European Policy asks whether the Czechs can continue this uncomfortable balancing act.

Cherry blossom and weapons of mass distraction

Globolog descends from the verdant Washington spring to take the measure of the World Bank and IMF’s seasonal meeting. Does it offer any long-term hope to the world’s poorest countries?

O.N.: between limbo and the City of the Dead

Having fled to Cairo from Liberia’s civil war, ON was plucked from the mass of waiting African refugees and thrown in jail. Why, he did not know.

Wrapping up 'Hair'

From pre-historic bog-people to ‘big hair’; virgin martyrs to dresses spun from lost souls, to the hairy Devil himself, the author of ‘The Beast to the Blonde’ takes us on a final grand tour of openDemocracy’s virtual museum.

Iraq spring

In his third report from northern Iraq, the journalist and guide Ayub Nuri reflects on the complex tribal, religious and ethnic relations that war and liberation have brought to the surface. The intoxicating new freedoms are testing Iraqis’ patience and trust in their new rulers; the US needs urgently to prepare the ground for a democracy in which all the country’s peoples will be secure.

Once, I was George Bush - and on television, worldwide!

In the deluge of instant imagery and flaky symbolism that surrounds us today, what other people think simply adds to the confusion. Is it possible to act at all? Over a number of years and different episodes in his life, this writer moves towards a tentative conclusion….

John Lloyd, the <i>New Statesman</i> and me

John Lloyd’s article for openDemocracy represents a sharing of a common ground of value in serious, responsible debate across divisions of left and right.

Maintaining prominence: two points on the war against Iraq

What was the war in Iraq all about and what does it mean for international relations? First, you have to look beyond the surface explanation to what was an ambitious plan for the Middle East. Secondly, you have to subject the perceived threats and their solution to the rigours of ‘just war’ theory. Only then can you begin to assess both the true nature of the conflict so far and the extent of damage which the world order could suffer as a result.

Not in my back yard: reforming the asylum system

A refugee officer with Amnesty international assesses the impact of new British proposals to send asylum seekers back to be processed in Regional Protection Zones – which may well set the agenda for a global rethink of refugee and asylum law.

The times demand we face up to terror, can the left answer?

The Iraq war has provoked deep divisions within the political left. But the resignation of distinguished columnist John Lloyd from Britain's ‘New Statesman’ was motivated by the magazine's evasion of modern political realities and resort to moralistic anti-Americanism rather than its anti-war stance. Here he builds on his argument to ask: what future has the left if it cannot deal honestly with the rise of terrorism and the crimes of dictators?

The peopling of London: how 'they' become 'we'

For centuries London has been a city of immigrants. Their first port of settlement has often been the East End area of Spitalfields. As a new museum opens there commemorating the impact of waves of these people – Huguenots and Jews, Bangladeshis and Irish, Poles and Chinese – Caroline Moorehead celebrates a historical process that continues to expand horizons and enrich lives in the present.

Getting it right in Africa

What does a real-life captain of industry have to say about corporate power and responsibility? Here, the Chairman of Anglo-American (and former Chairman of Royal Dutch/Shell) responds to openDemocracy‘s roundtable, focussing on the role of multinational corporations in Africa. He says that unless business, civil society and government team up to create sound systems of governance in developing societies, wealth will tear them apart.

Remembering 'Comical Ali'

Dis-info. dolls, Nike swooshed, Bush as FDR

America's world: from frontiersman to neocon

American neo-conservatives, far from being innovators in United States foreign policy, draw on expansionist and ideological elements that reach back to the birth of the nation. Their success is to have combined two strands of American experience - immigration and the frontier, withdrawal and advance - with spectacular results. But the long-term damage is great, argues Godfrey Hodgson.

In search of my character

For this acclaimed British novelist, fiction revealed itself in personal history – her Romany ancestry. Here, she tells how she came to write her latest novel, ‘Fires in the Dark’, due out on 6 May, and gives openDemocracy an exclusive advance extract.

Permanent occupation?

The US intention to build four major military bases in Iraq is part of a wider plan to gain strategic control of central and south-west Asia - the area with the bulk of world oil reserves. But America's attempt to secure its power in this way is likely to provoke a severe regional backlash.

Behind every great woman there is an even greater man - or not? Marie Curie and her husband Pierre

Marie Curie and her husband Pierre are back to set an example for European identity. Sarah Dry pictures them in her new biography “Curie” and discusses their lives and work with fellow historian of science, Pierre Radvanyi.

The autumn of the fig leaf

The short Iraqi war offers a chilling prospect to Indians: the US can launch wars against medium-sized states whenever it wants. But if this renders national independence a fig leaf, it also challenges India to escape from the trap of a world ruled by violence.

Iraq: Through African eyes

Battling power cuts to get onto the internet, our correspondent in Cameroon reports on the war in Iraq seen from an African point of view, and voices a plea, and a warning to Anglo-American belligerence.

Real political life, in Europe?

At present, Europe is a virtual polity which lacks real political life. Its true dynamism can be released only by a bold affirmation of democracy at the European level: a directly-elected European Council.

Why do women oppose the Iraq war?

Indian perspectives on the war in Iraq Aranyani Bhargava Hoping For Hope, Anuradha M. Chenoy Why Women oppose war, Tani Bhargava India’s new anti-Americanism, Ruchir Joshi Be very afraid

A staggering 86% of Indians oppose the war on Iraq. Civil society groups like the women’s and labour movements, students and rights movements form the backbone of this protest. The element that unites their collective opposition is a common understanding of global politics, power, violence and society, and how it links with a particular worldview based on peace, democracy and human rights.

On Iraq

The reality of war, and the threat of its extension to her Indian homeland, leaves this Delhi school student with only hope left to hope for.

Food: what we eat is who we are

Food, the daily ingredient of human survival, raises deep questions of politics, economics, the environment, and culture. Ian Christie introduces the Ecology & Place theme’s new debate on this most universal yet intimate of themes.

Hard Tack

The effort of coordination required to feed the ranks in war creates its own culture of humour and memory. The Commander of the United States Navy’s Medical Corps offers a consumer’s guide for the hungry soldier in the field.